How To Cut Acrylic Nails: 4 Steps

Blingy Nails
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As someone with short nails, I always appreciate a good acrylic nail extension. They make my nails look so much longer and prettier! 

But as anyone who has ever gotten acrylics knows, they can be a bit tricky to cut. If you’re not careful, you can easily crack them when you try to shorten acrylic nails.

Today, I’m going to share some tips on how to cut acrylic nails without cracking them. 

So whether your acrylic nails are too long or just in need of a quick trim, read on for some tips on tips! Let’s discuss how to get the job done safely and efficiently.


Can You Cut Acrylic Nails?

acrylic nails

Have you ever tried cutting your acrylic nails? Or are you afraid to? They seem very durable and it may seem that they are too challenging to cut without making a mistake. 

I understand where the fear is coming from. I’ve tried cutting my DIY acrylic nails before. I ended up with horrific results because I didn’t know how to properly do it. 

One of the most common problems that could develop is developing a vertical crack. With acrylic nails, the middle part is the most vulnerable.

Imagine using nail clippers to cut the acrylic nails. In this scenario, both of the sides flatten so that the pressure given by the clippers is matched. This causes tension in the center. 

With too much pressure, a vertical crack can happen. This ruins the acrylic nail and is quite painful. That’s because the acrylic nail is attached to the real nail!

When this happens you’d have to redo that acrylic nail and remove it.

You don’t want to risk having a crack because it can give access to moisture and bacteria that could lead to an infected nail.

You also want to remove that broken acrylic to further check if the natural nail is damaged.

Another risk is cutting them too short. If it is your first time cutting them on your own, you may want to only cut them a little bit.

That’s because you still need some length so that you can properly shape and file them. 

How To Cut Acrylic Nails Without Cracking Them

acrylic nails

Step 1: Decide How Much You Want To Remove

How much length do you want to take off your acrylic nails? Are you removing a significant amount or are you simply wanting to remove the tip because it may seem too pointed for you?

Step 2: Prepare The Right Tools

electric nail file

An electric nail file is still the best and the safest tool you can use to cut the acrylic to trim it to size. There are different drill bits that can be used to achieve what you want. 

What’s great about an electric file is that it has adequate power to spin the bits and trim the acrylic.

Just make sure that you are careful while using it.

If you don’t have an electric nail file, you could use a regular nail file if you only need to remove a little bit of length. 

You can also make use of nail clippers.

toe nail clippers

Just make sure that they are not dull — they need to easily cut the acrylic nails. If you use duller nail clippers, there is a chance that you could develop a vertical crack due to the pressure and lack of sharpness. 

Most will prefer using toe nail clippers rather than the smaller nail clippers. They are tougher. 

Nails scissors aren’t recommended, they typically can’t cut the acrylic nails.

Step 3: Start Cutting From The Outer Corners

The best way to remove some length off your acrylic nails is to cut from the corners. Trim the outer corners first and don’t cut the acrylic nail in just one go. 

Create a V shape when cutting the acrylic nails. Then just cut off the middle to remove the length.

It is best to remove bit by bit to prevent a vertical split from happening. You can always trim some more if you need to remove more length. 

You can repeat creating the V or pointed shape then cutting off the tip to remove more length. 

Make sure that you don’t cut the acrylic nails too short. Once you’ve got them to the desired length, you’ll still need to file the ends and shape them. 

Step 4: File The Edges And Check For Signs Of Lifting

The last step to cutting your acrylic nails is filing the edges. This is done to remove the sharp edges and buff them. 

Don’t forget to check the trimmed nails if there are any signs of lifting. It is possible that the cutting procedure might have led to lifting. 

If the acrylic has lifted, it is best to remove it to prevent a possible infection from developing. 

Should You Cut Acrylic Nails?

Although you can cut acrylic nails, it really isn’t advisable to do so especially if you don’t have the right tools. Even if you have toenail clippers, it is still going to be risky because of the durability of the acrylic. 

If you really want to shorten the acrylic nails, using the electric nail file is the best thing to do. That’s how professional nail technicians shorten acrylic nails at the salon.

Alternatively, you might just want to go back to your nail technician to reshape the nail. It is possible that the middle part will be too thick and won’t look natural. 

You can file it off on your own too but that may ruin the design you have on your acrylic nails. Plus, nail technicians can assess if your acrylic nails are still good or need to be repaired or replaced.

Whatever tool you use to try to cut your acrylic nails, you should be very careful in using them. Additionally, you should just trim or shorten the acrylic nails bit by bit. 

Be patient with the process and don’t rush. When you do, you are more likely to make a mistake or hurt yourself. 

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).